Every cultural group exhibits spectacular values, beliefs, and medical practices. The field of nursing has evolved in such a way that it can be applied in different settings depending on the needs of the target population. This discussion uses different research studies and analyses to describe the health care needs of African Americans. The paper will go further to offer evidence-based approaches and initiatives that can be used by healthcare practitioners to ensure culturally competent care is available to members of the population.
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The American society is characterized by many cultural and ethnic groups. This is the case because the United States is home to different racial groups such as African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and Whites (Pullen, Perry, & Oser, 2014).
This scenario has forced healthcare practitioners and scholars to come up with the most appropriate models to meet the needs of these groups. It is undeniable that disparities have defined the nature of the American society for decades. This means that more people have been unable to receive equal support and health services in the country. The concept of culturally competent care has emerged in the recent past to redefine the manner in which medical services are delivered to different cultural groups. This discussion seeks to describe the health care needs of African Americans.
Health Care Needs of African Americans
Every cultural group has its unique health needs, practices, care delivery procedures, and medical needs. In the article “Improving the Health of African Americans in the USA: An Overdue Opportunity for Social Justice”, the authors outline different issues that should be considered whenever planning to deliver evidence-based care to African Americans. It is notable that the needs of members of the population will vary from one community to another (Noonan, Velasco-Mondragon, & Wagner, 2016).
However, there are numerous similarities that should be analyzed and considered by caregivers in order to develop the most appropriate care delivery models to meet their needs.
To begin with, the “black” experience is something that should be understood clearly. This is the case because African Americans have different origins. Consequently, they tend to portray diverse health care demands and practices. This knowledge explains why it would be wrong to identify every black person in the country as an African American. Johnson (2013) explains why the decision to interact and learn more from every patient is something relevant.
In the care delivery process, members of the family should be taken into consideration. Past researchers have observed that African Americans treasure their respective family members and relatives. The healthcare process is always completed when every person is involved. Men are expected to take up leadership or senior most positions in their respective homes (Corrigan, Pickett, Kraus, Burks, & Schmidt, 2015). Caregivers should be willing to support this seniority in an attempt to deliver meaningful health support.
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The population has been observed to encounter a wide range of health challenges. For instance, obesity is a major health problem facing both chidlren and adults (Jang, Yoon, Chiriboga, Molinari, & Powers, 2015). Analysts have indicated strongly that the African American population has not been able to receive quality medical support in the recent past. This gap is attributable to the problem of discrimination that has existed in the United States for many decades. More African Americans are currently being diagnosed with cancer. This health challenge is making it impossible for members of the cultural group to realize their potential.
A study conducted by Johnson (2013) indicated that the issue of health disparity in the country was affecting members of this culture negatively. For instance, many African Americans were observed to live in unhealthy environments. This situation made it impossible for them to receive quality, healthy, and timely medical services. The number of homeless African Americans still remains high. The absence of environmental support was making it hard for more individuals to lead healthy lives.
Chronic diseases such as tuberculosis and diabetes continue to affect members of this culture (Johnson, 2013). This has been catalyzed by the absence of adequate healthcare delivery processes. The people have not been targeted by most of the health promotion models implemented in different parts of the country. The members of the community lack adequate information and support. Their financial positions also make it impossible for them to lead healthy lifestyles.
The United States has recorded an increasing number of fast food outlets and chains. The African American community is one of the cultural groups targeted by such chains. The people end up consuming unhealthy foods that eventually result in diseases such as obesity (Pullen et al., 2014). The problem has worsened since their communities lack adequate health facilities and support systems. Most of the regions inhabited by members of this culture have not been supported using various health promotion models or practices.
The nature of discrimination experienced in the country has led to numerous disparities in medical support and care delivery. Consequently, the situation has forced many African Americans to engage in unhealthy practices and behaviors. Teenage pregnancies, drug abuse, alcoholism, and HIV/Aids have continued to affect many young African Americans. Those living in low-income neighborhoods find it hard to lead healthy lives due to lack of adequate health services. The lack of financial support makes it hard for the affected persons to seek adequate medical support (Pullen et al., 2014).
Mental conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, and stress are common among members of this cultural group. Poor mental health remains a major challenge since it makes it impossible for many African Americans to maximize their potential. The health problem has been caused by a number of factors such as lack of opportunities, discrimination in the wider society, and healthcare inequality. Many people do not have access to proper mental care and support (Johnson, 2013). The situation worsens when the other family members are not in a position to support the patient’s needs.
Many communities inhabited by African Americans are rarely equipped with adequate facilities. The gap has been making it hard for the individuals to receive timely medical services. More often than not, patients from such communities are forced to travel elsewhere in search of evidence-based medical services. Lack of quality health education and information is a fashionable problem in such communities (Pullen et al., 2014). Many African Americans do not get desirable health education during their childhood. This malpractice has discouraged more African Americans from getting quality medical attention before their health conditions worsen (Jang et al., 2015).
From this analysis, it becomes quite clear that caregivers providing medical support to members of this community should be ready to meet their unique health care needs. This means that they should design adequate care delivery models that do not undermine their cultural values (Corrigan et al., 2015). The models should also be able to tackle the unique health challenges affecting members of the community. The approach will make it easier for more people to lead healthy lives and eventually realize their goals.
Application of Nursing to Offer Culturally Competent Care
The information gained from the above discussion should be used by nurses to ensure members of the African American community receive culturally competent health services. Nurses are usually equipped with adequate leadership and healthcare dexterities that make it possible for them to practice in a wide range of conditions (Jang et al., 2015).
The needs of the targeted patients or populations should be used to design the most appropriate models that can result in positive outcomes (Johnson, 2013). This notion explains why it is mandatory for nurse practitioners to be on the frontline to deliver culturally competent services to more African Americans.
The first thing to consider is the uniqueness of the African American culture. Nurses dealing with this cultural group should begin by analyzing the attributes, expectations, viewpoints, and practices exhibited by African Americans (Corrigan et al., 2015). For instance, members of the cultural group expect their relatives to be informed about their health needs. A nurse working with someone from the culture is expected to bring together different relatives and friends in order to make the healthcare delivery process successful.
African Americans are religious people (Noonan et al., 2016). This fact should guide nurses to focus on the spiritual needs of every patient in need of quality medical services. This understanding will make it possible for the practitioner to integrate various practices such as prayers and meditations throughout the care delivery process. Elderly members of the society are respected by their relatives, family members, and neighbors. It is necessary for every practitioner to consider this issue throughout the care delivery process.
Traditional medicines and practices are embraced by many African Americans. In order to ensure culturally competent health support is available to members of the community, nurses should be in a position to support the use of such traditional processes. The approach will support the care delivery process and improve the healing process. It would be appropriate for healthcare workers to interact with their African American patients (Noonan et al., 2016). This practice will ensure an evidence-based approach is developed to support the health needs of every patient.
The concept of multidisciplinary teams has been supported by researchers and scientists across the world. Since patients tend to have unique health demands, a multidisciplinary team becomes the best approach to ensure quality support is available to them. The team will find it easier to offer medical support that resonates with the cultural values, religious beliefs, and social norms of the patient (Jang et al., 2015). This practice will play a positive role towards supporting the idea of culturally competent care.
Many African Americans are affected by different healthcare problems and conditions. The above discussion outlined cancer, obesity, diabetes, and tuberculosis as some of the health challenges facing members of this cultural group. Healthcare workers should ensure they clearly understand these issues. Their care delivery models should therefore be aimed at tackling the health conditions while at the same time focusing on the best outcomes. The need for proper health promotion programs can be considered in order to support the health needs of more people (Jang et al., 2015). This approach will ensure the health needs of more underserved African Americans are met in the country.
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Corrigan, P., Pickett, S., Kraus, D., Burks, R., & Schmidt, A. (2015). Community-based participatory research examining the health care needs of African Americans who are homeless with mental illness. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 26(1), 119-133. Web.
Jang, Y., Yoon, H., Chiriboga, D., Molinari, V., & Powers, D. (2015). Bridging the gap between common mental disorders and service use: The role of self-rated mental health among African Americans. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 23(7), 658-665. Web.
Johnson, K. (2013). Racial and ethnic disparities in palliative care. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 16(11), 1329-1334. Web.
Noonan, A., Velasco-Mondragon, H., & Wagner, F. (2016). Improving the health of African Americans in the USA: An overdue opportunity for social justice. Public Health Reviews, 37(12), 1-20. Web.
Pullen, E., Perry, B., & Oser, C. (2014). African American women’s preventative care usage: The role of social support and racial experiences and attitudes. Sociology of Health & Illness, 36(7), 1037-1053. Web.